#1
I'm a guitarist of around 1 1/2 years and in that time i havent really learned many songs. I've been more concerned with music theory, technique, and making my own songs. Most of the songs i do learn, i learn by ear because i feel it is much more beneficial. However, that gets frustrating at times so it makes me want to not learn them all together. I see all these other guitarists who can play plenty of songs and due to that people think they are great yet they cant improvise or make anything of there own. If i dont learn a million songs from tabs am i going to lose a lot of valuable things that i could have learned in doing so? I just want to become the best guitarist i can be and ill do anything to accomplish that
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#2
There is a lot you can learn from analyzing other people's music. Gives you something to relate whatever theory you learn to.
#3
I agree, I very rarely learn a song. It is kind of funny when people think someone is so awesome because they can play a certain song yet when I ask to jam with them I just say something like "Minor blues in the key of G" and they have no idea what I talking about. In my opinion, ANYONE can learn ANY song with enough practice but very few people can improvise and write well.
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#4
If you're like me you should be pretty good at playing at a feeling with the stuff you've learned by yourself AKA improvising. I can't seem to be capable of playing something played by another, yet I don't strive at all to make my own, let's keep on that way man !

P.-S. I'm doing this as a career plan also, so making my own stuff is pretty much ideal from most points of view, exept that I can't show off at will by playing eruption since my improvising is stimulated by many factors, I can suck or rip off the paint from the walls depending on the atmosphere, 70's-style guitar playing I'd say :P.
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#5
its all about balance man. sure you can do everything on your own and not learn anyone else's songs, but then you're losing the benefits of everyone that's done things before you. you shouldn't ignore all the techniques people use in their music and learning other people's songs allows you to get a little bit of experience in those. its good to make your own songs but don't ignore everything else just for that. all in all playing guitar should be enjoyable for you and if you don't enjoy it why do it? you've been playing a year and a half its definitely not a living for you. learning how to play songs that have been done already adds to the fun and usually reinforces everything you've done to become the guitarist you are.
#6
I have only learned 2 songs completely on all the time I've been playing electric guitar. Classical guitar is a different story for me, but in electric guitar I haven't learnt any songs. I've learnt the heads to jazz standards and the changes, but I haven't sat down and learnt freebird's solo note for note.
#7
learn technical or challenging song and with your theory knowledge analyze what they are doing such as in a solo if he is playing in a certain mode or what or why something was phrased in a certain way it Will teach you more and give you things you can use
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#8
Quote by grampastumpy
There is a lot you can learn from analyzing other people's music. Gives you something to relate whatever theory you learn to.

thats true but alot of people once they learn a song all they do is play that song over and over again and not that there is anything wrong with that its just you start to think about that song instead of what your own personal music style is
i personally don't think that there is anything wrong with not learning songs i have been playing guitar for about 9 years now and i only know about 2 full songs i like to stay more to my own personal style and practice on technique and style rather than other peoples music
#9
I only have a few songs by other people dedicated to memory and that's because I do/have done covers with them, I don't think there's anything wrong with that, you can analyze songs without learning them.
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#10
Quote by sexothemonkee
thats true but alot of people once they learn a song all they do is play that song over and over again and not that there is anything wrong with that its just you start to think about that song instead of what your own personal music style is
i personally don't think that there is anything wrong with not learning songs i have been playing guitar for about 9 years now and i only know about 2 full songs i like to stay more to my own personal style and practice on technique and style rather than other peoples music
I don't know very many songs either. I'm just saying, it would probably be a good idea to see what people have already been doing for centuries and take bits and pieces here and there for your "personal style".
#11
IMO, you need to do both. Unless you are musical genius, you are going to limit yourself by writing your own material, and nothing else. You'll start to develop "paths," meaning the same chord progressions, similar rhythms, similar melodies, etc. Especially with soloing, you'll find yourself playing the same licks, and following the same general pattern for you improvisation. There is A LOT you can learn from other guitar players. Why reinvent the wheel? It will take you much longer to develop a well rounded guitar arsenal if you have to discover it yourself!

"I see all these other guitarists who can play plenty of songs and due to that people think they are great yet they cant improvise or make anything of there own."

Are you playing guitar to impress people, who cares? Some people focus heavily on being a guitar player, meaning they develop advanced technical skills, speed and proficiency. You seem to be more concerned with being a musician, and developing skills that are not specific to guitar, such a theory and song writing. Everybody plays their instrument for different reasons.
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#12
I have been playing for like 3 1/2 years and I rarely ever learn songs, I like making my own riffs, licks alot better.
#13
Same case for me. In the past year I've only learned one song, just for the sake of technique: Paganini's 24th Caprice. Nowadays, I don't even bother with repertoire unless it's classical. I study theory and improv etc. However, learning other people's songs is crucial to develop your own style, imo. Studying their technique etc.
#14
Quote by jetsrule281
I'm a guitarist of around 1 1/2 years and in that time i havent really learned many songs. I've been more concerned with music theory, technique, and making my own songs. Most of the songs i do learn, i learn by ear because i feel it is much more beneficial. However, that gets frustrating at times so it makes me want to not learn them all together. I see all these other guitarists who can play plenty of songs and due to that people think they are great yet they cant improvise or make anything of there own. If i dont learn a million songs from tabs am i going to lose a lot of valuable things that i could have learned in doing so? I just want to become the best guitarist i can be and ill do anything to accomplish that

you sound like how i was and am. i dont really know too many songs but i make up a lot of stuff and improvise a lot. which i think has more benefits than learning songs. whenever i do learn a song its usually just the basic chords of it. that way i can just play along with a CD and then make up my own melodies, solos, fills, etc... sometimes i might learn a certain thing in that song just because i like it or i find its a major part of the song.

the only good thing about learning songs is that you can "steal" licks and phrases and stuff and use them and mess around with them a bit and make them your own. plus you might get more ideas for writing your own music. but i think if you spend more time working on improvising, soloing, writing, etc... you will be a better guitarist than if you just learned a bunch of songs. my friend is one who knows like every song. but when it comes to soloing, he isnt anything special. he's alright at making his own songs though. but again, nothing special.
#15
Quote by jetsrule281
I'm a guitarist of around 1 1/2 years and in that time i havent really learned many songs. I've been more concerned with music theory, technique, and making my own songs. Most of the songs i do learn, i learn by ear because i feel it is much more beneficial. However, that gets frustrating at times so it makes me want to not learn them all together. I see all these other guitarists who can play plenty of songs and due to that people think they are great yet they cant improvise or make anything of there own. If i dont learn a million songs from tabs am i going to lose a lot of valuable things that i could have learned in doing so? I just want to become the best guitarist i can be and ill do anything to accomplish that



Learning songs can be an important part of your musical development. It trains the ear, reinforces theoretical concepts and provides inspiration. It in no way takes away the ability to be creative and write original material.

Quote by jetsrule281
I see all these other guitarists who can play plenty of songs and due to that people think they are great yet they cant improvise or make anything of there own.


I've met alot of people that "know theory" and can play really fast sweep arpeggios, but don't know any songs. I noticed that their improvisation sounded like exercises and lacked all the things that they would have gained by incorporating actual music into their practice. Things like melody, phrasing, tone, feel.....expression.


personally I feel the "I dont learn songs, I just do my own thing cause its better" attitude is a cop-out and a sign of denial.
Its challenging to learn something note for note, and play it with the right feel and get the right tone. Alot of people don't have the patience for that.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jun 22, 2008,
#16
Quote by handlerb
IMO, you need to do both. Unless you are musical genius, you are going to limit yourself by writing your own material, and nothing else. You'll start to develop "paths," meaning the same chord progressions, similar rhythms, similar melodies, etc. Especially with soloing, you'll find yourself playing the same licks, and following the same general pattern for you improvisation. There is A LOT you can learn from other guitar players. Why reinvent the wheel? It will take you much longer to develop a well rounded guitar arsenal if you have to discover it yourself!

i dont think you need to learn songs and solos to be able to learn from other players. a big influence of mine is eric johnson. but i cant play any of his solos. but what i do is listen to how he plays and i use the principles of his style and apply them to myself and change them around a bit so i dont sound exactly like him. and now i have a style kind of similar to eric but i also blend that with hendrix, clapton, SRV, philip sayce, joe bonamassa and so on. but again, i never learned any of their solos either but i can still tap into their style. you dont really need to learn a song or solo to use prinicples behind it. you may need to learn some licks note for note though.
#17
Quote by Blind In 1 Ear
i dont think you need to learn songs and solos to be able to learn from other players. a big influence of mine is eric johnson. but i cant play any of his solos. but what i do is listen to how he plays and i use the principles of his style and apply them to myself and change them around a bit so i dont sound exactly like him. and now i have a style kind of similar to eric but i also blend that with hendrix, clapton, SRV, philip sayce, joe bonamassa and so on. but again, i never learned any of their solos either but i can still tap into their style. you dont really need to learn a song or solo to use prinicples behind it. you may need to learn some licks note for note though.


But if you learn to play their music, you learn what it "feels like" to play it.

Its inspiring, fun, and educational
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jun 22, 2008,
#19
Quote by 08L1V10N
Analysing songs and learning stuff by ear is very educational.

+1

Ive learned a little Bureh in E minor ( or something like that i cant remember the real spelling and such), the national anthem, and several more famous things when just bored and messing on my acoustic.

Ironicly i hate most of the music i learn by ear.
I mostly learn the essental riffs of songs but never get around to finishing a whole song exept for around 10 songs.
#20
Quote by grampastumpy
There is a lot you can learn from analyzing other people's music. Gives you something to relate whatever theory you learn to.


+1. I agree. I have learned about playing guitar from learning other peoples songs. Thats why i learned every acdc song ever made. actually i lied about that but i do think it does help alot.
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#21
Im the opposite of you and want to change myself. I wish i payed more attention to improvising and theory but insted i spend most of my time learning songs i like because its easier and has faster rewards. I definatly greatly improved my technical abilities but i know i need to learn more theory and how to read sheet music better and do more improv. i hate not being able to make up stuff or having trouble finding where to play over chords.

Id say your doing the right thing but learning songs is fun and can help you technique wize so then in your imrpov you can incorporate more skills/ideas you might not have come across on your own.
#22
Quote by GuitarMunky
But if you learn to play their music, you learn what it "feels like" to play it.

Its inspiring, fun, and educational


i guess, but still id rather spend the time making my own solos and working on making my own sound instead off using that time to copy someone. the only solo i know is the one from couldnt stand the weather by SRV and its just cuz i think it suits the song well and couldnt really ever come up with anything better. plus it was rather simple so it wasnt time consuming.
#23
i never learn a full song, im always working on technique or theory. Usually if i think somethings cool ill learn the main riff or solo.
#24
i like to think that there are people who can play guitar
and then there are musicians
imitation and creation are two different things
but learning other peoples songs isn't a bad thing
and you need something to inspire your own creativity
#25
Quote by jetsrule281
I'm a guitarist of around 1 1/2 years and in that time i havent really learned many songs. I've been more concerned with music theory, technique, and making my own songs. Most of the songs i do learn, i learn by ear because i feel it is much more beneficial. However, that gets frustrating at times so it makes me want to not learn them all together. I see all these other guitarists who can play plenty of songs and due to that people think they are great yet they cant improvise or make anything of there own. If i dont learn a million songs from tabs am i going to lose a lot of valuable things that i could have learned in doing so? I just want to become the best guitarist i can be and ill do anything to accomplish that


Well, learning the songs from tab isn't important, but it'd be a good idea to learn songs in general, as you don't want to be the guy who's been playing 3 years and knows nothing he can play when someone asks him for a tune.

Otoh, i know where you're coming from. I used to be militant go-it-alone-er, i believed that writing (or improvising, obviously) everything i played or preformed would develop my creative and expressive muscles far more than learning covers by rote like so many of the local bands. I would say that to an extent it worked, i'm a far more proficient and varied composer than any "tab book guitarist" i've met, and i'm starting to become happy with some of my composition (as in, i'll still like it in a year) though thats not due to "not learning songs", but rather to do with focusing on composing, which is a different thing. Obviously, i learned sections of songs and solos, but very rarely the whole thing - which i can now admit (3 years on) was often laziness and lack of focus.

For the record, i do regret not having built up a solid repertoire, as that means i have a very small collection of material i like that i can play immediately and to a high standard.
#26
I hate people who think they are better than me just because they can play a song I haven't bothered to learn. I don't compare myself to people anymore. Repertoire can be important but as you get more experienced getting better can be hard if you don't know theory.

I myself have a huge repertoire (mostly classical pieces) and have been composing for three years now, I can also read standard and play it on guitar with ease and instantaneously too. The stuff I started out composing was really bad however now it I'm also starting to like my compositions too.

You can choose not to learn pieces of music if you want and you'll still be quite good. I measure how good a player you are by.
1. How fast you can learn a piece of music and play it well.
2. How well you can improvise.
3. How good your theory is.
#27
Quote by Blind In 1 Ear
i guess, but still id rather spend the time making my own solos and working on making my own sound instead off using that time to copy someone. the only solo i know is the one from couldnt stand the weather by SRV and its just cuz i think it suits the song well and couldnt really ever come up with anything better. plus it was rather simple so it wasnt time consuming.


So your saying thats the only solo thats worthy of you learning ? and your saying that you could come up with better solos than the original artists on every other song but that 1?


No offense but that sounds like a cop out. Im sure SRV has more than 1 solo thats worth your time. Its just that its work to figure them out and it takes time. You have to use your ears and your knowledge. I admit it can be frustrating, but the rewards are well worth it IMO.

also you give "copy" a negative connotation and you really shouldn't. We learn from other people. Whether its by imitation, reading their ideas in a book, or on the internet, it makes no difference.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jun 24, 2008,
#28
Quote by jetsrule281
I'm a guitarist of around 1 1/2 years and in that time i havent really learned many songs. I've been more concerned with music theory, technique, and making my own songs. Most of the songs i do learn, i learn by ear because i feel it is much more beneficial. However, that gets frustrating at times so it makes me want to not learn them all together. I see all these other guitarists who can play plenty of songs and due to that people think they are great yet they cant improvise or make anything of there own. If i dont learn a million songs from tabs am i going to lose a lot of valuable things that i could have learned in doing so? I just want to become the best guitarist i can be and ill do anything to accomplish that

I believe if you continue the way you are, you'll become a great original guitar player. I realized a while ago that if you get too stuck up on one band or one genre, you're originality wanes as you persist in emulating others. Just my opinion.
#29
Quote by Phobos&Deimos
I believe if you continue the way you are, you'll become a great original guitar player. I realized a while ago that if you get too stuck up on one band or one genre, you're originality wanes as you persist in emulating others. Just my opinion.



alot of people have the misconception that when you learn other peoples songs it somehow makes you less original. This not true however. Learning "other peoples" music can bring alot to your musical development. It's just a matter of what you put into it and your attitude towards it.

Some of the most original artists have spent time learning the music of others.
shred is gaudy music
#30
Quote by GuitarMunky
alot of people have the misconception that when you learn other peoples songs it somehow makes you less original. This not true however. Learning "other peoples" music can bring alot to your musical development. It's just a matter of what you put into it and your attitude towards it.

Some of the most original artists have spent time learning the music of others.


Exactly, especially if you study a lot of different artists you'll get a lot of fresh perspectives on soloing, phrasing, feel and so on which will carry over to your own playing. Plus if you just always make up your own stuff, you'll be more likely to stay in your comfort zone, where as learning from several different artists will teach you new things you may have never learned otherwise. It will also push you technically, b/c no matter how good you are you can always find a song that will be a challenge for you to learn & force you out of your comfort zone. It won't stifle your creativity, it will give you more tools to work with. I've found that a balance between learning music from others & practicing improvising/composing on a daily basis works best for me.
#31
Quote by GuitarMunky
alot of people have the misconception that when you learn other peoples songs it somehow makes you less original. This not true however. Learning "other peoples" music can bring alot to your musical development. It's just a matter of what you put into it and your attitude towards it.

Some of the most original artists have spent time learning the music of others.

Well, no one's quintessentially original. Everyone borrows from somebody. But you're right. In the past year or two, I've learned nothing but classical pieces. Doesn't necessarily mean I want to emulate those composers, but it does build respect and appreciation for their art.
#32
Quote by GuitarMunky
So your saying thats the only solo thats worthy of you learning ? and your saying that you could come up with better solos than the original artists on every other song but that 1?


No offense but that sounds like a cop out. Im sure SRV has more than 1 solo thats worth your time. Its just that its work to figure them out and it takes time. You have to use your ears and your knowledge. I admit it can be frustrating, but the rewards are well worth it IMO.

also you give "copy" a negative connotation and you really shouldn't. We learn from other people. Whether its by imitation, reading their ideas in a book, or on the internet, it makes no difference.

no thats not really what im saying at all. what im saying is when i played over that song, i couldnt come up with anything as good. even SRV played that solo live. it just suits the song well. SRV has a lot of great solos yes. and so does eric johnson, hendrix and clapton(my main idols) but i find it more useful to try and make my own solos that are just as good.

once in a while i might use a part of their solo though. but i very rarely learn something note for note. its usually just some licks that i like or think are important to the song. but my thinking was why spend time copying someone elses solos when i could be learning to make my own that are just as good? and i dont really think copying is all that bad. im sorry if i made it seem like i do. but i just find it more useful to take ideas and principles from an artist than to go and copy them note for note. im sure that way helps you too. but thats just not how i like to do things.

i look at it like this: if you were a different kind of artist, like a painter, would you spend hours copying your idol's paintings? would you copy stary night? probably not. you would study their work and use ideas and prinicples from their work and apply them to your own. there will probably be some techniques that you copy, but you arent copying them stroke for stroke.

all in all, if you want to play other peoples songs, thats fine. it helps for sure. but i find too many guitarists spend too much time doing this and dont spend enough time practicing how to play. they dont spend time improvising and they dont spend time practicing different techniques, runs, licks etc... and making their own solos. im not saying all do, but ive seen a lot who dont.
#33
Quote by GoldenGuitar
I hate people who think they are better than me just because they can play a song I haven't bothered to learn. I don't compare myself to people anymore. Repertoire can be important but as you get more experienced getting better can be hard if you don't know theory.

I myself have a huge repertoire (mostly classical pieces) and have been composing for three years now, I can also read standard and play it on guitar with ease and instantaneously too. The stuff I started out composing was really bad however now it I'm also starting to like my compositions too.

You can choose not to learn pieces of music if you want and you'll still be quite good. I measure how good a player you are by.
1. How fast you can learn a piece of music and play it well.
2. How well you can improvise.
3. How good your theory is.

A very pompus and closeminded veiw in my opinion.
So hendrix and SRV aren't very good then......
#34
Quote by Blind In 1 Ear
no thats not really what im saying at all. what im saying is when i played over that song, i couldnt come up with anything as good. even SRV played that solo live. it just suits the song well. SRV has a lot of great solos yes. and so does eric johnson, hendrix and clapton(my main idols) but i find it more useful to try and make my own solos that are just as good.

once in a while i might use a part of their solo though. but i very rarely learn something note for note. its usually just some licks that i like or think are important to the song. but my thinking was why spend time copying someone elses solos when i could be learning to make my own that are just as good? and i dont really think copying is all that bad. im sorry if i made it seem like i do. but i just find it more useful to take ideas and principles from an artist than to go and copy them note for note. im sure that way helps you too. but thats just not how i like to do things.

i look at it like this: if you were a different kind of artist, like a painter, would you spend hours copying your idol's paintings? would you copy stary night? probably not. you would study their work and use ideas and prinicples from their work and apply them to your own. there will probably be some techniques that you copy, but you arent copying them stroke for stroke.

all in all, if you want to play other peoples songs, thats fine. it helps for sure. but i find too many guitarists spend too much time doing this and dont spend enough time practicing how to play. they dont spend time improvising and they dont spend time practicing different techniques, runs, licks etc... and making their own solos. im not saying all do, but ive seen a lot who dont.


well its your guitar, do what you want with it.


I happen to enjoy learning music on my musical instrument.
shred is gaudy music
#35
Yea no **** guitarmonkey i agree with you 100%. I have no problem with learning theory but these guys defend it like its there girlfriend. 2 posts above the Goldenguitar says he hates people who think their better than him because they play a song he hasn't bothered to learn yet as if he can play any song ever written.

I don't hate but have no interest in a guy that looks down on someone who might have a different goal or attitude in music then himself and maybe hasnt had the time to study all his books on theory yet.
Last edited by /-\liceNChains at Jun 24, 2008,
#36
I don't really learn songs on guitar either. There are a lot of songs I can play along with to a certain extent, but I usually only know the changes or main rhythm riff and I just BS the solo. I'll admit that it's laziness more than anything, especially since I don't take guitar as seriously as piano (which I do have a pretty decent repritoure for).
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#37
In terms of improvisation, there's 2 ways of looking at.

"Learning a song" is a top-down approach. You start out with something that is
music and can be played as music. But, if you want to be able to generalize it
so that you can incorporate it into your playing, you need to break into its
component "pieces" in order to understand it. When you understand it, you
can generalize the pieces and use them in other contexts and/or rearrange the
pieces to form new things. If you don't understand it, it's likely you'll only be able
to "repeat" it in the same specific context (song) you learned it.

Scales, exercises and theory are more bottom-up approaches. They allow you to
study very specifically the general pieces in an abundant number of permutations.
They're very general and can be used in a lot of different contexts, but you still
have to assemble these pieces into music.

So, if you're interested in improvisation, a good question to ask yourself is if you feel
more limited by assembling pieces into music or not knowing enough pieces well
enough. If you're having trouble assembling pieces into music, learn more songs.
If you don't understand how to break music into pieces and/or don't know enough
variety of pieces, do more scales, exercises and theory studies.
#38
Pick out a song that fits your style, and dont just learn it, analyze it. See exactly what they are doing to make it sound so good. You can also incorporate little parts of their solo into your playing, as the littler things are more techniques.

Take John Mayer for example. He's a pretty good musician but look at all the SRV influence in his work. It doesnt sound much like SRV imo but quite a few of the licks are pretty similar.
Last edited by beavers333 at Jun 24, 2008,
#39
Quote by GuitarMunky
well its your guitar, do what you want with it.


I happen to enjoy learning music on my musical instrument.

lol so do i. i never said i didnt. but i play blues and rock. most of what i learn is progressions. im talking about learning solos. im always jamming to my CD's so i know a lot of songs, but i dont play all the melodies exactly the same or the solos. plus im at the point now that ive gotten good enough to make good solos so i really dont find the need to learn them. and seeing as i play a lot of blues, its kinda pointless to learn solos which were improvised. i should learn to improvise. same with rock. but with people like hendrix and clapton, again a lot of their solos are improvised. so again, i just always wanted to get to the point that i could make my own good improvised solos. and now im there.

so i do enjoy learning music on my musical instrument, but i also enjoy making it a lot more.
#40
Quote by Blind In 1 Ear
lol so do i. i never said i didnt. but i play blues and rock. most of what i learn is progressions. im talking about learning solos. im always jamming to my CD's so i know a lot of songs, but i dont play all the melodies exactly the same or the solos. plus im at the point now that ive gotten good enough to make good solos so i really dont find the need to learn them. and seeing as i play a lot of blues, its kinda pointless to learn solos which were improvised. i should learn to improvise. same with rock. but with people like hendrix and clapton, again a lot of their solos are improvised. so again, i just always wanted to get to the point that i could make my own good improvised solos. and now im there.

so i do enjoy learning music on my musical instrument, but i also enjoy making it a lot more.


I can make my own solos to. I just happen to enjoy learning other peoples solos. It inspires me, and I learn something every time.


If you don't dig learning other peoples solos thats fine, but if you think there is nothing to be gained by it, or that it somehow takes away from your own originality....your fooling yourself.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jun 25, 2008,